Rajiv Lochan, having taken over as MD of Sundaram Finance (SFL) at a very challenging time from his iconic predecessor, TT Srinivasraghavan (who presided over the fortunes of this ever dependable, beacon like NBFC for 18 years), is firming up strategies to recover from the pandemic that has left its devastating impact on business two years in a row. So, how will Lochan take on the prevailing challenges, and also prepare for new ones? To start with, Lochan will have to slay the demand for morphing into a bank — a tough decision taken by the Board. He will have to innovate to navigate. A high level source says that for the last two years in a row they have borne the brunt of not getting receivables on time, “We don’t resort to harsh measures for EMI recovery, keeping our accounts alive is more important. About 70% of SFL’s portfolio consists of retail operators, owning and operating two or three trucks; only 30% are big fleet operators. Till the manufacturing sector kick starts, the aim is to stay connected and keep these small enterprises alive.” SFL outlook for quicker recovery is for three sectors: the IT, pharma, and hatchback auto segment. With public transport posing a health hazard, people are aiming to buy their own small cars. The Sundaram Group has a clear view of where to head, and how even during this pandemic. Soft touch for tough times.